Crimean Gothic

Crimean Gothic
Native toformerly Crimea
EthnicityCrimean Goths
Extinctby the 18th century
Gothic alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Crimean Gothic was a Gothic dialect spoken by the Crimean Goths in some isolated locations in Crimea until the late 18th century.[2]


The existence of a Germanic dialect in Crimea is noted in a number of sources from the 9th century to the 18th century. However, only a single source provides any details of the language itself: a letter by the Flemish ambassador Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, dated 1562 and first published in 1589, gives a list of some eighty words and a song supposedly in the language.

Busbecq's account is problematic in a number of ways. First, his informants were not unimpeachable; one was a Greek speaker who knew Crimean Gothic as a second language, and the other was a Goth who had abandoned his native language in favour of Greek. Second, Busbecq's transcription was likely influenced by his own language, a Flemish dialect of Dutch. Finally, there are undoubted typographical errors in known extant versions of the account.

Nonetheless, much of the vocabulary cited by Busbecq is unmistakably Germanic and was recognised by him as such:

Crimean Gothic English Bible Gothic German Dutch Faroese Icelandic Norwegian


Swedish Danish Low Saxon
apel apple apls (m.) Apfel appel epli ('potato') epli eple äpple ('apple')
apel (Malus)
æble appel
handa hand handus (f.) Hand hand hond hönd hånd / hand hand hånd haand
schuuester sister swistar (f.) Schwester zus(ter) systir søster / syster syster søster zus / Sester
hus house -hūs (n.) Haus huis hús hus hoes / huus
reghen rain rign (n.) Regen regen regn regen/reagn
singhen sing siggwan (vb.) singen zingen syngja synge / syngja sjunga synge zingen / sing
geen go gaggan (vb.) gehen gaan ganga gaon

(Note: Medial -gg- in the Biblical Gothic examples represents /ŋg/)

Busbecq also cites a number of words which he did not recognise but which are now known to have Germanic cognates:

Crimean Gothic English Bible Gothic German Dutch Faroese Icelandic Old Norse Norwegian (BM/NN) Swedish Danish Old English Old Saxon Old High German
ano 'rooster' (unattested) hana Hahn haan hani haðna
hane (archaic in Swedish) hana hano
malthata 'said' (unattested) (unattested) mælti mælte †mälde
†mælte maþelode gimahlida gimahalta
rintsch 'ridge' ridge (unattested) Rücken rug ryggur hryggur hryggr rygg ryg hrycg hruggi ruggi

(Note: † archaic)

Busbecq mentions a definite article, which he records as being tho or the. This variation may indicate either a gender distinction or allomorphy — the latter whereof would be somewhat akin to the English "the", which is pronounced either /ðə/ or /ðiː/.

Other Languages
brezhoneg: Goteg Krimea
한국어: 크림 고트어
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Gotik Krimea
íslenska: Krímgotneska
Nederlands: Krim-Gotisch
Nedersaksies: Krim-Goties
norsk: Krimgotisk
norsk nynorsk: Krimgotisk
Plattdüütsch: Krimgootsche Spraak
português: Gótico da Crimeia
qırımtatarca: Qırım Got tili
svenska: Krimgotiska
žemaitėška: Krīma guotu kalba